Throughout a woman's life, there are many more challenges they will face than a man simply due to hormonal differences. Here is a brief synopsis that can be found at www.perio.org of the specific dental issues that may arise throughout the stages of a woman's life;
During puberty, an increased level of sex hormones, such as progesterone and possibly estrogen, causes increased blood circulation to the gums. This may cause an increase in the gum's sensitivity and lead to a greater reaction to any irritation, including food particles and plaque. During this time, the gums may become swollen, turn red and feel tender.
As a young woman progresses through puberty, the tendency for her gums to swell in response to irritants will lessen. However, during puberty, it is important to follow a good at-home oral hygiene regimen, including regular brushing and flossing, and regular dental care. In some cases, a dental professional may recommend periodontal therapy to help prevent damage to the tissues and bone surrounding the teeth.
Occasionally, some women experience menstruation gingivitis. Women with this condition may experience bleeding gums, bright red and swollen gums and sores on the inside of the cheek. Menstruation gingivitis typically occurs right before a woman's period and clears up once her period has started.
Women may experience increased gingivitis or pregnancy gingivitis beginning in the second or third month of pregnancy that increases in severity throughout the eighth month. During this time, some women may notice swelling, bleeding, redness or tenderness in the gum tissue.
In some cases, gums swollen by pregnancy gingivitis can react strongly to irritants and form large lumps. These growths, called pregnancy tumors, are not cancerous and are generally painless. If the tumor persists, it may require removal by a periodontist.
Studies have shown a relationship between periodontal disease and pre-term, low-birth-weight babies. Any infection, including periodontal infection, is cause for concern during pregnancy. In fact, pregnant women who have periodontal disease may be seven times more likely to have a baby that is born too early and too small! If you are planning to become pregnant, be sure to include a periodontal evaluation as part of your prenatal care.
Women who use oral contraceptives may be susceptible to the same oral health conditions that affect pregnant women. They may experience red, bleeding and swollen gums. Women who use oral contraceptives should know that taking drugs sometimes used to help treat periodontal disease, such as antibiotics, may lessen the effect of an oral contraceptive.
Women who are menopausal or post-menopausal may experience changes in their mouths. They may notice discomfort in the mouth, including dry mouth, pain and burning sensations in the gum tissue and altered taste, especially salty, peppery or sour.
In addition, menopausal gingivostomatitis affects a small percentage of women. Gums that look dry or shiny, bleed easily and range from abnormally pale to deep red mark this condition. Most women find that estrogen supplements help to relieve these symptoms.
Bone loss is associated with both periodontal disease and osteoporosis. Research is being done to determine whether the two are related. Women considering Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to help fight osteoporosis should note that this may help protect their teeth as well as other parts of the body.
Once diagnosed, dental treatment must be done in a timely fashion otherwise routine treatment suddenly becomes more complex because it was ignored or took a back seat to baby's needs. Recognizing that mom's with infants and toddlers can't seem to find the time to do anything for themselves, we offer certain mornings when you can bring in your young ones and we will have an ECE graduate (or someone comparable) on board to watch your kid(s) while you have your dental work done. Please call and ask us what is available.